It's Just A Rant

Above is the last photo I took of our 16-year-old Cosmo. He always loved lying spread-eagle across papers, laundry, game board boxes, fuzzy blankets. Anything he could assert his catliness over. “These are mine, and these are mine, and these and these.”

Who am I kidding? The whole house was his.

RIP, buddy.

He “helped” me on this snowy day. Keeping me company as I edited and untwisted that tangled tale I started weaving years ago. The edits moved along just fine—much better than the dread I danced with had led me to believe.

See those blue notes? That’s my timeline—I found problems with weekdays and continuity of things like weather and sunrises by doing those.

Those yellow ones are chapter summaries, point of view references, and my Muse saying, “Hey, idiot—don’t forget to wrap up this promise, or clue or here’s something for book 2…”

The pink ones are plot holes. A couple of them are plot pits. I managed to find the character that “walked off the set.” I found the bit where the same pickup was in two locations (and no, not a magical truck), and I found several issues I didn’t know I had.

Some people, those who’ve never written or prefer some other hobby or way of unwinding, won’t understand the time and effort and why I care so much about this endeavor.

“It’s just a story.”

I do know that it is, in the big scheme of things, just a story. I’ve written lots of “just stories.” And hopefully this will be just another story someone reads and likes, or doesn’t. And maybe recommends to someone, or doesn’t. And the end result, the readers’ reactions, I can’t control those. But I can do these bits of notes and edits and thinking before the tale leaves my care. To me, at this stage, it’s more than just a story.

It’s an escape and de-stress from the doldrums and drama of life.

It’s a way to spend a snowed-in afternoon.

It’s a way to stay out of a therapist’s office—or depending on the drama, stay out of jail.

Most importantly, it’s a way to dream.

But from others’ perspectives, I know my writing will be just a story or just a hobby. From my perspective, if my “real life” responsibilities are handled, what’s it matter to anyone else if I spend time or—heaven forbid—actually make time for spinning fantasies and mysteries and misfit characters and putting them in print?

I have—and will continue to—put this endeavor on hold in times of others’ great needs. But sometimes I won’t hold it off. I’ll keep writing, and it will seem selfish and others will rant “It’s just a hobby…” or something similar. And I will rant back, “It’s my oxygen mask when the plane is crashing.”

Let’s turn it around for a minute. What’s your “just a”? And, for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s sports. Your team loses (whether you’re watching professionals play on TV or you’re on a team yourself). I say, “It’s okay. It’s just a game.” Punch to the gut, right? (Full disclosure: I do this to my poor hubs all the time. It really ticks him off. But we’re married and I have this almost 25-year-old piece of paper signed by officials and witnesses that says it’s okay if we fight like a married couple, so…)

But saying this to a ten-year-old after he’s lost his Little League tourney game would be cruel. Saying this to a grown man (who’s not my husband), who may have gambled next month’s rent and car payment on the success of a pro team may earn me a punch in the mouth.

I know that as the news spreads about Cosmo’s demise, I’ll get that line. That awful “I’m sorry, but he was just a cat. You can always get another one” line. Though I’m sure it’ll be meant in all kindness—insert eye roll here.

Do me a favor. Keep that “just a” line to yourself when someone loses a fur (scale, feather, hairy) baby. To them, in their moment of grief, they don’t want to hear their beloved pet was just a cat (dog, horse, lizard, bird, guinea pig, fish). If you must say this line, if it’s your go-to line and you can’t help yourself, for the love of all things great and glorious, please say it behind closed doors to your significant other or to the four walls. Don’t say it to the grieving one.

Or, maybe, you’ll get a firm punch right to the mouth.

And if that happens, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And don’t worry, either, because it’s just a tooth.

You can always get another one…

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.